Barely 90 minutes before the trade deadline, the Broncos have decided to accept a Bradley Chubb trade offer. They are sending the fifth-year pass rusher to the Dolphins, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter).
Denver will receive the 2023 first-round pick Miami obtained from San Francisco, along with a 2024 fourth-rounder and running back Chase Edmonds. The Dolphins will receive Chubb and a 2025 fifth, Schefter tweets. The Broncos needed to make a decision: accept an offer including a first-round pick or attempt to extend Chubb in 2023. Second-year GM George Paton took the first-rounder-fronted package. The teams have announced the deal.
This marks the second time in two years the Broncos have traded a cornerstone edge rusher at the deadline. Chubb, 26, will join 2021 trade chip Von Miller in the AFC East. Miami has made some moves to fortify its pass rush this year, re-signing Emmanuel Ogbah and adding Melvin Ingram and Trey Flowers in free agency. Despite these moves, the Dolphins have tallied only 15 sacks this season. No player has more than three. Chubb will head to Miami after registering 5.5 sacks in his final Broncos season.
Denver’s latest seller trade wraps a swiftly developing saga. At this point last week, Chubb was expected to bring in a Miller-like haul (second- and third-round picks). But the Broncos discussed Chubb with more than 10 teams; a first-rounder was reported to be on the table since Sunday morning. The Jets and Dolphins were linked as being willing to send the Broncos a first-rounder, but while New York was believed to have backed off, Miami will pay up for the contract-year pass rusher. It is unclear if another team offered a first, but it is unsurprising the Broncos parted with Chubb for such compensation.
The Dolphins are now expected to work out a long-term deal with Chubb, Schefter tweets. Such a contract will cost north of $20MM per year. But the Dolphins are in a better position to pay Chubb his market value compared to the Broncos, who now have an expensive quarterback on their payroll.
Ogbah is signed to a $16.35MM-per-year deal, while first-rounder Jaelan Phillips (team-high three sacks) is attached to a rookie contract through 2024. The Dolphins ponied up record-setting receiver dough for Tyreek Hill, and they are set to pay Chubb as well. These accords will complement Tua Tagovailoa‘s rookie contract. With Tua not an open-and-shut 2023 extension candidate like Joe Burrow or Justin Herbert yet, the Dolphins can slow-play it with the 2020 No. 5 overall pick. Tagovailoa can be kept on his rookie deal through 2024, via the fifth-year option.
Sitting in a tie for second place in the AFC East with the Jets, the Dolphins (5-3) will be armed with a former Pro Bowl pass rusher. The Broncos chose Chubb fifth overall in 2018, and while the Nos. 6 and 7 picks from that draft became top-tier players (Quenton Nelson, Josh Allen), the North Carolina State-produced pass rusher still developed into an upper-echelon edge defender in Denver. Chubb registered 12 sacks as a rookie and bounced back from a 2019 ACL tear with a 2020 Pro Bowl berth. Chubb underwent two ankle surgeries in 2021, leading to a zero-sack season, but has rebounded again to help the Broncos form a top-five defense despite Vic Fangio‘s exit.
The pre-deadline deal closes the Broncos’ book on a decent what-if chapter in their modern history. The team’s John Elway-led regime drafted Chubb to pair with Miller, but after 2018, the two rarely ended up playing together. Chubb went down early in 2019; Miller missed all of the 2020 season. Chubb was lost early in the 2021 campaign; by the time he returned, the Broncos had traded Miller to the Rams. Denver has retooled on the edge in 2022, and each of its current cogs are Paton-era investments.
Denver signed Randy Gregory to a five-year, $70MM deal, moved Baron Browning from inside linebacker to the edge and drafted Nik Bonitto in Round 2 this year. All three have shown flashes, but both Gregory and Browning are out with injuries presently. While Tuesday’s trade depletes Denver’s 2022 edge corps, the team is 3-5 and pounced on a rare opportunity to land a first-round pick for a somewhat injury-prone player.
After losing its first- and second-round 2023 picks in the Russell Wilson trade, Denver has replenished its draft cupboard to some degree. The Dolphins have also been active with first-round selections under GM Chris Grier. They collected this 2023 draft choice from the 49ers in 2021’s Trey Lance deal, moved up to draft Jaylen Waddle that year and sent the Chiefs a 2022 first-rounder for Hill. While the Chubb move gives the Broncos a first-round pick next year, the Dolphins are now without one. The NFL stripped Miami of its original 2023 first-round pick, in the Tom Brady–Sean Payton tampering scandal, and the last of the selections obtained for Lance is now sacrificed for Chubb. The Dolphins are betting big Hill and Chubb can lead them to their first playoff win in 22 years.
Edmonds signed a two-year, $12.1MM deal this offseason but has seen ex-Mike McDaniel 49ers charge Raheem Mostert overtake him in Miami’s backfield. This season, Edmonds has 216 scrimmage yards and three touchdowns. He has not surpassed 10 carries in a game since Week 1. Edmonds, 26, showed more while playing alongside Kenyan Drake and James Conner, respectively, in Arizona. A fourth-round pick out of Fordham, Edmonds topped 800 scrimmage yards in 2020 and ’21. He averaged 5.1 yards per carry last season, but the Cardinals turned to Conner as their primary back and re-signed him this offseason.
The fifth-year back is tied to a $2MM 2022 base salary and a nonguaranteed $5.7MM 2023 salary. The Broncos could look to pair Edmonds with Javonte Williams next year, with current backfield cogs Melvin Gordon and Latavius Murray unlikely to be with the team in 2023. For now, Edmonds will join the veterans who have been sharing the backfield since Williams’ ACL tear.